This week I want you to dive into writing the script of your new story and future. Remember, no matter how good you are at overcoming fear to unlock your 20X potential unless you’ve done the deep work, your emotional past will emerge to sabotage your results. One of my mentors,
Gary Kraftsow, Founder and Director of American Viniyoga Institute, once said to me: “If
you’re an asshole, and you meditate for twenty years but neglect your emotional
development, you’re just going to be a more focused asshole.” It’s true. If you haven’t re-scripted the negative stories of the past that are locked in layers of emotional energy, you might get rich, and you might get famous, but you’ll still be an asshole, coward, bully, liar, whiner, self-saboteur, or a quitter. Exalted leaders fall because they ignore their emotional development. You’ve seen this. You revere a celebrity, athlete, or political figure only to discover they’ve been hiding a drug or gambling problem, or they were cheating on their partner or embezzling money, or they’re being accused of sexual assault, or worse.
With the rise of the internet and social media, it feels like we see instances of this weekly. In the 1970s, American scientist Candace Pert made a historic discovery that had a profound impact on our understanding of this mind-body connection. She identified molecules that unlock brain cells to allow oxytocin, dopamine, morphine, and other neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, and opiates to enter. Since then, scientists have discovered these “unlocking” molecules, called
neuropeptide receptors, throughout the body. This network links the brain, endocrine system, immune system, and nervous system. Through Pert’s research, we now know that our emotions are links between our mind and our matter. Our emotions carry messages back and forth and influence both our bodies and our minds.
This means we cannot escape our emotions. They are the bridge between every system in our bodies. If we can’t escape them, we’d better learn to work with them to benefit our life rather than destroy it. Pert found scientific proof that when we think negative thoughts, chemicals are released that travel to and permeate other systems in our bodies, weakening both our physical health and psychological well-being. Thinking happy thoughts is healing. Happiness, satisfaction, joy, physical and intellectual pleasure: these emotions release dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins, often referred to as “the quartet of chemicals responsible for happiness.” When we consciously create positive thoughts, we can literally boost our mental and physical well-being in the same manner.
Over time, this is how we heal and become emotionally mature. Another way to up your emotional development is through exercise. Physical exertion makes us feel good, which in turn creates more positive thoughts. Hopefully, you’re already doing this, so you have a head start.
Another way to rewire the brain is through meditation. Both orbitofrontal and hippocampal regions have been implicated in emotional regulation and response control. Researchers believe larger volumes in these regions in meditating v. nonmeditating brains may account for the meditator’s singular ability to cultivate positive emotions, retain emotional stability, and engage in mindful behavior. And, hopefully, you’re doing this too! Positive self-talk, exercise, meditation, morning mantra, and always feeding the courage wolf!
Once you commit to physical and mental training, then climbing the physical and mental mountains just requires you to replace some old habits of thinking and doing with some new positive ones. But mastering your emotional mountain requires a special level of dedication. Fear and negative ruts almost always stem from your shadow self, which is not so obvious to you until someone like me asks you to examine it.
As you embark on developing your new skills and continue to starve your fear
wolf and feed courage, the emotional energy from your origin stories that run all the way back to early childhood will continue to trip you up—they are the root cause of your shadow self. I encourage you to deconstruct your old stories and rewrite new ones so that you can eradicate negative internal triggers, release happy chemicals at will on a regular basis, and have one less thing to worry about on your journey to mastering your emotional mountain.